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a traveling travesty, at least

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Dorian isn't a member of the Chargers. He's not a mercenary, Maker no. If his presence is questioned by an employer, the boys take turns providing explanations, ranging from the sincere (Stitches' humble admission that Dorian serves as a healer in case of injury he's unable to address) to the absurd (Dalish's solemn confession that Dorian's been helping her with her bow work), to the unnecessary (Bull's cheerful announcement that he keeps Dorian around because he's so pretty). None of it's completely true or false — but then neither are Dorian's protests that he's not a Charger. He knows that. He's even sung the song once or twice when tipsy enough, sitting across Bull's lap and taking great care not to slosh his mead all over himself.

But his role in this merry group of misfits isn't as straightforward as the rest, even Krem's. Surely, if he and Bull weren't what they were, he'd not be along for the ride; but he's nothing so simple as Bull's lover, awaiting his return from battle each day in camp.

"You're more like... the mom," Bull says unadvisedly one night, after they've taken out three giants plaguing the unlucky but hardy folk of the Hinterlands and are rewarding themselves in the tavern at the crossroads. (Dorian remembers when the place was built, and doesn't that make him feel his age.)

Before Dorian can finish sputtering unattractively, Krem leans forward and waves his hand, palm down, shaking his head. "Nah, chief, you're the mom." Bull doesn't even look offended, the jackass — his chest puffs up like a proud mama hen. "Hothouse is more like..."

The rest of the Chargers interrupt him. Dorian hears “auxiliary support”, “diplomat”, and “kept man” (damnit Bull) before Skinner slams her flagon onto the table across from them and narrows her eyes. "Hothouse does everything. He picks up the slack.”

“I’m the assistant. How very complimentary,” Dorian drawls, and Skinner glares at him. She never has liked being interrupted when she deigns to speak.

“He doesn’t need a title,” she finishes, once she’s done picking him apart with her daggers in her mind.

The boys all look between each other, and it seems that’s consensus — there’s a chorus of here here’s, and everyone hits their flagons together. “To Hothouse,” Krem says, and Dorian rolls his eyes but holds up his beer for Krem to knock.

Bull’s arm tightens around Dorian’s waist, and Dorian looks up at him.

“I will never forgive you for disseminating that nickname,” Dorian tells Bull seriously, and Bull beams down at him.